CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – It was a totally different Israel Gonzalez whom Jerwin Ancajas met Thursday during the official press conference drumbeating their scheduled 12-round International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight title fight at the American Bank Center.
Gonzalez, the tenth-rated IBF contender was haughty, a far cry from the meek individual who shook hands and posed with pictures with the Filipino defending champion a few days ago during a couple of chance encounters at the airport and in the hotel lobby.
“He’s trying to psyche me out,” said Ancajas after the event held at the Brewster Ice House, two days before he makes the fourth defense of the IBF 115-lb crown at the American Bank Center.
Gonzalez’ sudden switch from a seemingly timid kid into a chest-thumping fellow showed when during the traditional staredown following a press conference.
As Top Rank publicist Lee Samuels ordered the two fighters for a face-off, Gonzalez
Immediately walked towards Ancajas and looked the 26-year-old titleholder straight in the eye.
Ancajas admitted to have been surprised by Gonzalez’s braggadocio, telling a couple of Manila-based scribes later that the challenger “looked as if he was going to eat me alive.”
Instead of getting affected by his opponent’s tactic, Ancajas was cool, calm and collected and was hardly bothered by Gonzalez’s antics.
But Ancajas admitted that he feels edgy in the final days leading up to his US debut not because Gonzalez scares him.
“It’s not because I am going to fight him (Gonzalez) but it’s events like this one that is making me nervous,” said Ancajas, who enters the ring with a 28-1-1 win-loss-draw record with 19 KOs.
Gonzalez, parading a 21-1-0 slate with eight KOs, was a picture of confidence.
“We came prepared and we came to take that title from Mexico and bring it to (my hometown of) Cabo San Lucas,” said Gonzalez, just 21 years old.
Later in the day, Ancajas shadowboxed, banged the mitts with lead trainer Joven Jimenez and did stationary running under the supervision of everyone in camp.